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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Plan to stop health project in Darnall is discussed at hustings meeting

Local residents held an old fashioned hustings meeting in Darnall last night. The meeting was organised by Darnall Forum and all the local election candidates for Darnall were invited. Two of the candidates attended, Mary Lea from the Labour Party and Julie White from the Greens. The UKIP candidate, Charlotte Arnott, was represented by her husband Jonathan.

Mary Lea told the meeting that the Liberal Democrats intend to sell land in Darnall which has been earmarked for a new intermediate care centre for older people. 'This is in their budget proposals and it will stop the project from going ahead in Darnall,' she said. Although both the Green and UKIP candidates have reservations about the sort of public and private finance initiative which will be needed to pay for the new centre, all three candidates at the meeting agreed that the new centre should be built in Darnall.

It was also alleged at the meeting that the LibDems have pledged to take resources away from more disadvantaged parts of the city to spend in Dore and Totley.

Challenged by local residents to say what they would do if a minority LibDem administration was proposing to take resources away from Darnall Ward, neither Julie White nor Jonathan Arnott would answer what Mr Arnott called 'a hypothetical question'. 'I don't know yet what the Greens will do if there is a hung Council,' Dr White said. Mr Arnott said that UKIP would have 'to look at things on a case by case basis'.

In a remarkably good natured meeting, all of the candidates praised some aspects of each other's policies. 'This sort of meeting is a really good thing and it should happen more often,' said Julie White. The meeting heard that Misbah Chowdhury, the LibDem candidate, was too busy to attend.

The picture shows Mary Lea making a point to the meeting as (left to right) Richard Arnott from UKIP, Marie Gregory from Darnall Forum (who chaired the meeting) and Julie White from the Green Party look on.

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